1-4 Minnesota COVID-19 Update: Vaccine Doses Arrive to Cover All Frontline Health Care Workers
1-4-2021 COVID-19 Update from Minnesota Department of Health
The Minnesota Department of Health held a press briefing Monday, Jan. 4, to provide the latest public health information regarding COVID-19.
You can watch the full briefing here.
MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm:
- Globally, 85.2 million cases since start of pandemic (up 2.5 million since before New Year’s weekend); 1.84 million deaths (up 30,000 from prior to New Year’s weekend)
- In U.S., 20.6 million cases since pandemic began (up 200,000 from yesterday); 351,000 deaths (up 1,376 from yesterday)
- In Minnesota, 423,688 total confirmed cases (up 3,148)
- The 3,148 case total accounts for 650 “backlog” cases.
- Of the 423,688 confirmed cases, 405,556 (96%) are no longer considered infectious
- In Minnesota, 5,443 total deaths (up 13)
- Of the 13 newly reported deaths, 7 were residents of long-term care/assisted living
- Enough vaccine doses delivered to cover all frontline health care workers in Phase 1a.
- Not all the shots have been administered to frontline workers.
- Doses first go to large hospitals, which then distribute them to about 100 smaller hospitals across state
- Phase 1a also includes residents of nursing homes and first responders who provide emergency medical services.
- About 500,00 doses needed for all of Phase 1a.
- 78,402 doses of vaccine administered so far (More than 82,000 doses administered in Minnesota when you include federal doses administered at VA homes).
- Currently 810 people hospitalized in Minnesota for COVID-19; of those patients, 156 in intensive care
- Despite encouraging signs, more hospital beds still used for COVID-19 patients than spring peak in May
- Data considered “unstable” due to Christmas, New Year’s holidays due to lower testing during these periods. Data outcomes expected to show up in about 3-4 weeks (virus incubation period is 14 days, plus about a week or so for people to get tested and receive results back).
- 7-day case positivity rate now at 5.9%
- MN did dip below 5% caution threshold on Dec. 24
- Malcolm says state needs to get testing numbers back up to have more confidence in the data.
MDH Infectious Disease Director Kris Ehresmann:
- Vaccination of residents of skilled nursing facilities started last week. 85,200 doses diverted to skilled nursing home facilities as part of federal program. This is enough to cover majority of long-term care residents.
- CVS, Walgreens and Thrifty White pharmacy chains helping to administer these doses.
- 369 skilled nursing facilities expected to receive doses in next few weeks. (It will take 3-4 weeks to complete vaccinations for these facilities)
- As of Dec. 30, Minnesota had received 221,550 doses of vaccine, of those 85,200 Moderna doses required by federal gov’t to be diverted to skilled nursing facilities. The other 136,350 doses used for state’s “hub-and-spoke” distribution system.
- As of Dec. 30, about 57,000 doses administered in Minnesota.
- An additional 75,800 doses arrived in state on New Year’s Eve.
- Expecting about 60,000 doses a week (half Pfizer, half Moderna)
- “Hospitals are also stretched very thin right now,” said Ehresmann.
- Goal is to administer doses “as quickly and as safely as possible,” Ehresmann said.
- Pfizer doses used for health care workers due to storage logistics. Pfizer vaccine needs to be stored in extreme cold.
- Minnesota ranks No. 16 among doses administered per 100,000 people.
Q&A Session and Notes:
- Governor Tim Walz is expected to announce later this week the state’s next steps in response to the pandemic.
- The state’s current restrictions on indoor services for bars, restaurants and entertainment venues are in place until Jan. 11
- Youth sports could resume practices starting today, Jan. 4. Group fitness classes also resumed.
- Not heard of any doses spoiled or lost, said Ehresmann.
- Teachers and other essential workers included in Phase 1b. Those age 75 and older also included. This phase expected to start in February. Vaccine distribution recommendations by Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) here.
- Federal government reserving second shot of doses, so Minnesota can move to Phase 1b before completing Phase 1a
- Can you carry the virus after getting vaccinated? Ehresmann: “This is something being evaluated at the national level,” she said. “We’re still gathering information.” Recommendations would still include mask wearing and social distancing.
- 9,380 cases associated with sports (from June 1 until Dec. 19).